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Mumbai rains deter 13/7 victim from returning to work

July 10, 2012 13:00 IST

Ramlal Musai Yadav survived the 2011 Mumbai blast but was badly injured thereby preventing him from going to work. But now Yadav wants to get back to work to help his wife who has been supporting the family with her meager income. A Ganesh Nadar reports    

Ramlal Musai Yadav, 52, sits at the entrance of his one-room home in a chawl at Wadala with his legs stretched out into the narrow lane. His legs are disfigured; Yadav is one of the badly injured victims of the 13/7 blast in Mumbai.   

While his broken leg is healing, the other leg has developed psoriasis. "The doctors at Harkisandas prescribed tablets when I was discharged and told me to take it for six months. It is to regain my strength as I lost a lot of blood on that fateful day," says Yadav. He still takes tablets worth Rs 50 a day.

Yadav received free treatment and medicines at Harkisandas, where he was admitted for two-and-half months. However, as soon as he was discharged he had to shell out money from his pocket for the medicines.

Even though it is a difficult time for Yadav and his family, his children are quite cheerful. They accepted the chocolates offered by this reporter with a shy smile and sat next to their father as he answered questions.  

Yadav used to work at Panchratna Building room no. 34 for many years till the firm he worked in shut shop. The owner rented the premises out to someone else.

Yadav decided to try his luck doing business. Earlier, his job involved boiling diamonds to clean them. Several years of experience gave him the confidence to strike out on his own.

He made about Rs 7,000 a month in the trade. 

"The bomb was in a tall tiffin box on the road. I was chewing tobacco and my friend Dinesh bhai was eating biscuits. He offered me one, so I decided to rinse my mouth to get rid of the tobacco taste. There was a water tank on the road and I took a glass and drank it. All of a sudden there was a loud explosion. I was sitting on the road with my leg stuck in the gutter. My ear was bleeding profusely," he said.

"My leg was broken and I was in pain. There was shrapnel lodged in knees and thighs. My hand was also bleeding. I could not see anybody around; everyone had fled, I could only hear loud voices in a distance," Yadav added.

"Dinesh bhai was lying by my side. He said, 'Pick me up and put me in a cab, I will go by myself'. I could not get up, so I couldn't help him either. A few minutes later a few taxis drivers came to our aid. They tore off the plastic sheets of shops put up to prevent the rain. They used the sheets to carry us to the taxi, as they feared hurting us further if they picked us up with their hands," explained Yadav. 

They were both taken to the nearest hospital -- Harkisandas -- in a cab. Yadav spent six days in the ICU as he had lost a lot of blood. Yadav was unaware that the doctors had operated on his leg. The police found a diary in his pocket and called his home number.

Yadav has three children; Kamlesh is in class 7 and Reena in class 8. His eldest daughter Asha is married.

Yadav's wife works as a cook in other people's homes to sustain the family.

"She always worked, but now it is our only income," says Yadav.

He received the promised compensation of Rs 2 lakh from the government. The Tata group gave him a monthly compensation of Rs 7,000 for six months. They also gave Rs 15,000 for his son's education.

Yadav wants to go back to work but is scared of the rains. "You know sometimes the roads and trains all come to a halt. I will have to walk home and my leg is not that strong yet," he says. He plans to go back to work once the monsoon retreats.

Buying small diamonds and selling them again on the road outside Panchratna, this old man will never forget the day when his small world exploded into gloom.

Photograph: Ramlal Musai Yadav with his children

Credit: A Ganesh Nadar

A Ganesh Nadar in Mumbai